A few years ago I lived in an apartment in a building called The Ivy House on North 3rd and Yakima in the Stadium District of Tacoma. Like any good Tacoman, one of the first things I did was find the nearest bar. As luck would have it, just around the corner was the Parkway Tavern.
With a bunch of microbrews on the tap and a set of hot and/or friendly bartenders, The Parkway Tavern quickly became my drinking spot of choice. Not only was it a great place but it was stumbling distance from my apartment. Suddenly the pricey rent was worth it.
When I first found the Parkway, it wasn’t much more than a neighborhood bar and anyone who hadn’t been inside would have just assumed that it was a dive bar. This kept the bar nicely quiet and I liked that so much that I rarely told anyone besides my friends about the place. It’s not often you find a bar with a good beer selection, reasonable atmosphere, and a great staff that isn’t packed any given night.
So why am I writing about it now? Because the secret is out. About a year and a half ago, the Parkway began a renovation that has turned the Parkway from a nice little neighborhood bar to one of the best taverns in the country. This isn’t just my opinion. They’ve been profiled in Esquire. Since I can’t keep it quiet, I figure I might as well put my two cents in.
Yes, the Parkway is significantly busier than it used to be. But part of their renovations included creating the Red Room. The Red Room is located directly behind the Parkway’s kitchen. There’s a big flat screen television, a fireplace, and various skins and maps on the red walls with Zebra-print seats. If this sounds nothing like the Parkway I’ve been describing, you’re right. The Red Room is almost like a bar within a bar in that it doesn’t feel like anything else there. Consequently, it makes the place feel bigger than it is.
On weekends, the Parkway serves breakfast and for the past couple years I’ve made it a semi-regular habit to show up on Sunday mornings with some friends, have some food and hang out with friends. My personal favorite is the breakfast burrito which is exactly what it sounds like. The best way to start off is with the Pear Cider. It’s a nice fruity concoction that fits with the morning and makes you not feel so bad about drinking before noon.
If it’s later in the day or if you’d just prefer to start off with a real beer, I suggest the Laganitas IPA. They almost always have it on tap and it goes well with just about anything. You’ll also want to ask what’s new on tap. Sometimes they get in kegs of limited microbrews that only last a few days. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, try whatever they have on cask.
The Parkway is such a great place that I still end up meeting up with friends there despite the fact that I no longer live anywhere near it. If you’re near Tacoma and you prefer your alcohol in beer instead of hard alcohol The Parkway is the place to go.
Next week we’ll go to the opposite end of the spectrum and I’ll tell you about the best dive bar in Tacoma.